Two Turkish military jets crashed during a training exercise over the central Turkish province of Malatya. According to the military, all four crew member were killed in the incident.
Contact was lost with the RF-4E reconnaissance aircraft after they took off from Malatya air base on Tuesday evening for planned night training, Turkish military said in a statement.
“Search operations were immediately started. At 20:45 the wreckage of our two planes was discovered and unfortunately four pilots have been martyred,” the statement added. No reason for the accident was given.
Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala said the planes came down in Akçadağ district, more than 150 km north of the Syrian border. He ruled out “outside intervention” and said the planes either crashed into each other or fell due to severe weather conditions. He said any attack on the jets is out of the question.
Turkey has the second largest armed forces in NATO and in recent years its fighter jets have played an active role in patrolling its troubled borders with neighbouring Iraq and Syria. In 2012 the Syrian air force shot down a Turkish F-4 over the Mediterranean.
According to a statement, the wreckage of the planes has been found and the authorities are attempting to recover the bodies of the crew. The area where the wreckage lies is only accessible on foot.
Both Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan telephoned the Chief of General Staff, General Necdet Özel to express their condolences.